JELF’s support has allowed me to pursue my dreams of making a positive impact on the community in all that I do. Because of the funding I received in both degree programs, I was able to successfully graduate and find a job doing what I love. Working as a Long-Range Planner for the City of Edmond, OK, I am able to enact real change in the lives of residents. I would not be where I am today without the support of JELF.
JELF has helped me achieve my higher education. As a first generation college student, it’s so important for me to strive higher and create opportunities for myself that my parents didn’t receive. By obtaining my degree, I can continue on to represent immigrants in our justice system and help them get better opportunities.
As a student JELF has helped me pay for school and attend a university that I couldn’t without their help. I am truly grateful for their help and the generosity of the donors that contribute to my success!
When I was getting ready to start dental school back in 2015, JELF helped cover some living expenses/tuition which eased a lot of the anxiety I had about starting this new chapter of life in a new city. I graduated from dental school in 2019 and completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) in Atlanta the following year. My wife and I (married in March 2020) currently live in Hoschton, GA and I work as an Associate Dentist at an office in Jefferson, GA.
Hi! My name is Danielle Brawrmen and I am a current freshman at Indiana University – Bloomington. I am a first-generation student in the United States and am pursuing a BA in Media with a concentration in Media Technologies, Games, and Culture and a specialization in Digital Journalism. JELF’s last dollar assistance has allowed me the opportunity to pursue my ideal major at my dream school, and I am forever grateful for that.
I am fortunate enough to have my family contribute to my tuition, but without JELF, none of it would have been possible. Before graduation, I hope to study abroad and participate in some sort of internship in order to develop a better concept of what is expected of me post-graduation. After graduation I would love to be a creative consultant/editor for some sort of magazine. Since I was younger, I have always wanted to be part of that fast-paced environment and I am working hard in order to achieve that goal. I am extremely grateful to JELF for allowing me the opportunity to pursue the best education for me and am thankful to everyone who played a part in helping me be here.
Without JELF I would have no way to pay the remainder of my tuition after scholarships and grants. With the help of JELF, I am able to earn my bachelor’s degree so that I can pursue my career goals of becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. I am so thankful for every person who has donated to JELF so that other students who are just like me are able to achieve their goals.
JELF has allowed me to attend an out of state college that best fits my need for my major. I am to get a hands on education and attend a school that allows me to experience sports journalism. I hope to return to Atlanta one day and report for our state’s teams!
I have always dreamed of being a nurse and thanks to JELF I am able to get the education to do so. I hope to help my patients and their families during their most vulnerable times and I am so thankful to be able to attend school to do so. During these trying times of COVID-19, I am so lucky to have a job that allows me to help others. Thank you JELF!
JELF helped me in law school with last dollar financing. I was very fortunate that my parents were previously partially contributing to my educational expenses to reduce the amount of loans I needed. In the middle of law school my dad needed complex surgery which meant time off work and additional medical expenses for my family. Having my JELF funds gave our family additional peace of mind and reduced the burden during a time my parents could not contribute as much to my educational expenses. They were supportive and made the process easy. I would recommend them to any student.
The traditional (non-JELF) financial aid gave me just enough to cover tuition, books, and some of my housing. The financial assistance provided generously through JELF covered living expenses that allowed me the opportunity to further my education through extracurricular experiences, rather than having to spend that time working a part-time job. These experiences helped me get a job at IBM in New York and begin my startup.
These extracurriculars involved me exploring emerging technologies in an innovation competition where I created an application to streamline traditional and autonomous parking with an IoT-enabled parking garage. I co-founded the FSU Sports Analytics Club which served as a consulting organization to FSUs Division 1 athletic department. This eventually positioned me to serve as a director for the Inaugural Sports Analytics Summit. I also was a runner-up in an FSU Startup Competition with my company Athlogic, a free application to help HS football teams take stats and then college football teams buy those stats for sabermetric recruiting and to automatically clip game film.
JELF changed my life. They supported with an undergraduate loan that allowed for me to be in minimal debt following my education. The staff was so warm, helpful and supportive. I know my parents felt relieved by my support from JELF and I know the only way to thanks them will to one day be able to give someone else the scholarship funding they need!
JELF has made me feel more in control of my life during a financially difficult time. Going into thousands of dollars of loans to pursue the education you have always dreamed of pursuing is a difficult step in life. But JELF’s kindness has made me feel supported by the Jewish community as well as have some peace of mind when dealing with the financial aspect of my future.
JELF allowed me to focus on my grades and furthering my education rather than focusing on how I would pay for college and make ends meet. They helped me take my first step towards my ultimate goal of being a licensed clinical social worker working with children who have survived trauma.
The biggest impact JELF has had on my life was during the summer of 2015. There were no classes for me to attend or books to buy, instead, my studies led me to Los Angeles California where I completed an unpaid public relations internship for a world renowned fashion designer.
Knowing that JELF would be there to support my studies later in the fall, I was able to focus full time on my internship. By the end of the summer, I acquired many new skills and the confidence to move forward with my career aspirations. The internship allowed me to graduate a semester early from Northern Illinois University and accept my dream job in LA.
While the unpaid internship model is slowly disappearing from our society (about darn time), I’m thankful that JELF stepped in before my finances could squash my chances of pursuing my dream.
JELF made it possible for me and my brother to continue our education during a very difficult time for my family financially. I’ll never forget that IT IS BECAUSE OF JELF we are succeeding in our professional lives today.
The financial assistance JELF provided allowed me to attend college after high school, as opposed to working and going back to school later. Once I graduated, I was able to pay JELF back with the income I was making using my degree. As a social worker, I always knew I wanted to help people. Thank you JELF for helping ME achieve MY goals! I couldn’t have done it without you!
Even with the scholarships I got to attend undergrad, I was coming up short to attend college. There was no other way for me to go to school. Without the help of JELF I know I wouldn’t have been able to go to undergrad. Not only did they help me financially, but mentally as well. I got cards and letters of encouragement for my attendance and grades from the staff. The letters were so encouraging, I knew I could handle any post grad work I decided to follow. It secured a promise that I made to myself during those years, I will always support JELF financially and physically to the best of my ability throughout my life!
Not only did JELF help make it possible for me to afford Vanderbilt University, a top-15 private school, but it was at Vanderbilt Hillel where I first understood how fulfilling it is to be a part of a Jewish community. It was at Vanderbilt where I went to Israel for the first time on a Birthright Trip with my classmates. And it was at Vanderbilt where I met my husband Andrew – who has truly made my dreams come true. I am incredibly grateful and committed to giving back to this fantastic fund that has brought so many blessings into my life.
JELF taught me early on about value on resourcefulness in pursuing your dreams. I had merit scholarships, but they were not enough to cover my tuition and books. JELF’s loan supplemented my scholarship funds and gave me the peace of mind to focus on my studies without worrying about finances. Thank you, JELF, for supporting me and so many others!
I was largely independent in school, relying on student aid and loans to pay for my tuition and living expenses. Chabad singlehandedly fed me week to week. I learned about JELF at a low-point where I was facing severe financial trouble. Without JELF I would not have been able to continue my degree and my studies. I had maxed out the (frustratingly) high-interest loans I was allotted and only wish I had learned about JELF earlier! JELF was literally there when I needed them most.
While I applied to college not knowing what I would major in, I did know two things — I wanted to go to Virginia Tech, and that I would be paying for it myself. A JELF loan was one of the ways I was able to do this — bridging the gap in my own savings, the money I was able to earn through my on-campus Federal Work-Study job, and any other Financial Aid I had available.
I was able to major in something I was passionate about — Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus on Leadership, Social Justice, and Judaic Studies — and graduate in three years, going on to earn my Master’s degree and take the next step towards a career in higher education administration and career services, where I have been happily contributing to college student success for nearly 15 years on different campuses. JELF honored all that I had put into exploring and honing my Jewish identity in high school, and made it possible for me to engage in Jewish life and studies in college, as well.
Chiropractic school is insanely expensive, however, it’s the career where I know I’m going to love what I do and to be able to help so many people. JELF is helping me pay my way through school and reduce my debt on the back end. I am so grateful for this organization!
Growing up in a single parent household with two younger sisters and working three jobs at a time, I was always worried about being able afford to chase my dream job. However, because of the aide I received from JELF I have been able to move to Nashville, TN from Savannah, GA to pursue a degree in counseling, with an emphasis in school counseling, at Vanderbilt University.
Not only am I now able to chase after my dream job, but I am being led on this journey by top ranked professors in a nationally renowned program. I never could have imagined being where I am today, but thanks to JELF, I’m breaking boundaries I previously thought impossible. While I faced several challenges in the last year with COVID, a robbery, and the passing of a few close family members, I have been able to put my focus aside from finances and focus on the things at hand. I cannot thank all of the JELF donors enough for providing me with these opportunities, and I am eager to begin paying it forward.
Originally from Richmond, Arielle is currently a junior at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. With aspirations to become a psychiatrist, she is majoring in psychology and on track to graduate in 2023. Arielle participates in a Greek society on campus and volunteers for the local children’s hospital, the Red Cross and an organization called Fear to Freedom. She also started a surf club at the university and participates on the sail team.
As the middle of three siblings in a divorced household, her mother works as a gifted resource teacher in the public school system and also tutors part-time. Sadly, Arielle’s father, who was a sales director for a hotel, passed away this past March.
Arielle’s oldest sibling, a former JELF recipient who is currently repaying their loan in good standing, also graduated from Christopher Newport University, where the family has third generation ties. Her sibling now works as a financial consultant. Arielle’s younger sibling will also be entering Christopher Newport University as a freshman this coming fall.
Previously, Arielle’s parents had always split the bills for their three children but since their father’s passing, Arielle’s mother is now solely responsible. With two children in school this year, finances are especially strained. To help make up the difference, Arielle worked full-time as an ocean rescue lifeguard this past summer (in previous summers, while doing this, she also saved 2 people from drowning!).
Arielle and her family have not only demonstrated their need for JELF’s 0% interest loans but their hardship, perseverance and hard-working mentality. JELF is incredibly proud to helped all three siblings work towards earning their degree…and looks forward to seeing where they go next!
Having the opportunity to be supported by the generous donors at JELF throughout my undergraduate career gave me the luxury of not having to worry about how to pay for tuition or rent while at Florida State. Ultimately, this provided me the ability of being able focus solely on what was most important to me, which was doing well in school and my career development. During my time spent at Florida State, I can confidently say I would not be where I am today without the assistance of organizations like JELF. I am forever grateful to be in the position I am today and to be able to give back to those that believed in me when I needed it the most.
When I was younger my parents gave me a reality check by telling me that my only college option was community college. Nonetheless, after 4 years of hard work, 20 college applications, and the generosity of JELF I was able to accept a spot at USC. It took a lot of convincing, but with the support of JELF my parents confidently let me go pursue my dreams in LA , where I was involved in Jewish Heritage Program, Jewish Greek Leadership and made the Dean’s List at USC!
“JELF helped me with part of my tuition during my four years at college from 1982-1986 so I could get an education! I am grateful for this assistance and still use my career today! I was able to pay my loan back quickly and really appreciate the assistance that was afforded to me.”
“JELF really was my last dollar solution. I had maxed out education loans and did not think I would be able to finish my degree. I am extremely grateful for the funds I received so that I was able to stay at Embry Riddle and accomplish my goal of receiving an undergraduate degree.”
Ilana had her mind set on going out of state for college. She wanted to meet new people and move farther from home. Yet, coming from a home with a single mom supporting two kids, she was told she’d have to find a way to pay for the out-of-state expenses. At 18 she didn’t truly understand what a loan or interest meant. When her mom suggested JELF, however, she knew it would save her a lot of money in the long run. With JELF, along with her federal loan and a partial scholarship, she was able to study Social Work at the University of Alabama.
After working for a county outside of Atlanta, she decided to help people in a different way. She found a career in recruiting and is now a part of Home Depot’s recruiting team. She was able to pay off her loan, but she wanted to do more. She approached JELF and joined the Visibility Committee and she has donated to help other students with interest-free loans. “I wanted to give back and help other Jewish students.”
Diana was born in the former Soviet Union, present-day Belarus, and immigrated as a child. She was always drawn to medicine and helping children. She volunteered at hospitals and studied hard in high school, but even after merit based scholarships, she needed to find a way to pay for her education. JELF helped her get through Emory University’s rigorous pre-med program and medical school at Medical College of Georgia. Today she is a pediatric hematology/oncology fellow at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. As she wrote in a thank you to our donors, “JELF has played a very important role in my life and I hope that one day I will be able to assist students with their goals as you have assisted me.”
Anya was only three when her family emigrated from the former Soviet Union. Forced to flee from the Nagorno-Karabakh War, her family was able to find sponsorship through the Greensboro Jewish Federation.
Though on food stamps for most of her childhood, her family was able to build a life in the U.S. Her grandmother nannied. Her grandfather worked odd jobs. Thanks to JELF, Anya’s mother was able to go back to school for an M.S. in public health and a Ph.D. in epidemiology.
Anya decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps. With the help of JELF, as well as her family, federal loans and work/study, she graduated from Emory University’s Anthropology and Global Health program.
Following undergrad, JELF also helped Anya pay for Wake Forest Medical School. Today, Anya is working toward her dream as a resident of Stanford’s Emergency Medicine program.
From an early age, David’s father struggled with an addiction that eventually took his life. His single mother did what she could to raise three children on her own but just didn’t have the money for college. It was a huge stress for David to come up with ways to pay for his education, so David felt relieved when he received a JELF loan. David was able to go to the University of Georgia, and subsequently earn his degree and become a successful businessman.
David now owns two businesses and he and his wife are educating three children of their own. After he paid his JELF loan off, he felt such a sense of pride that he continued to support the organization as a donor.
Today, David participates in JELF’s loan reviews, assists with marketing efforts, and is proud to be a donor. “It’s now my turn to give back to the hundreds of students JELF helps each year,” he says.
When it came to college tuition, Spencer Weiser knew his family would have a shortfall. His father, a management consultant, lost his job during the recession. Family medical bills had eaten significantly into savings. Spencer’s dad went looking for ways to help pay for his son’s education. Spencer was able to get a scholarship from Northwestern, as well as work/study and federal loans–but it wasn’t enough. Thankfully, JELF funded the rest.
Because of JELF, Spencer was able to be more involved in both his university and fraternity, and have time to do the important climate change research that he was passionate about. Since graduating with a double major in economics and environmental studies, Spencer has been working as a strategy consultant in an environmental practice. He plans on going back to school for a master’s degree and will apply to JELF for funding once again. As he put it, “Honestly, I can’t thank JELF enough.”
Joshua worked hard to earn a 3.5 GPA in high school. He had good SAT scores and participated in extracurricular activities. Yet, when he started talking about college, he realized that his parents just didn’t have the college savings he had hoped. Joshua didn’t know how much his father’s multiple sclerosis had affected the family’s finances. After getting student government loans for tuition, Joshua turned to JELF for the necessary living expenses he needed to attend school full-time.
During college, Joshua dedicated himself to learning his craft at his university’s English program. He wrote for the student paper during the day and studied at the school’s Chabad house in the evenings. After graduating, Joshua decided to apply his passion for writing as a means of giving back and began working at a synagogue as a digital communications associate.
Shaayna was accepted into college right as the 2007 financial crisis began. Her parents, both independent business owners, suddenly couldn’t make ends meet and didn’t have enough saved. Even with university scholarships, Work-Study, federal loans and a Parent Plus loan, Shaayna was unable to make ends meet. Luckily, she found out about JELF through BBYO.
Today, she has been able to buy a house for her and her parents. Shaayna just got married and is now looking for ways to give back. She wants to help other women succeed and has started mentoring younger associates at her firm. “Thank goodness for JELF,” she said, “It’s such a great program.”
Alex and Maria Gurevich are both former JELF recipients. With the help of JELF, they attended the University of South Carolina. Alex received his undergraduate degree in finance and an MBA specializing in international business. Upon graduation, they moved to Boston, where Alex spent 14 years with Pricewaterhouse Coopers and in 2012, joined Ernst and Young Financial Services Practice as a tax partner specializing in international taxation. For the past 4 years, Alex has served as a trustee for the Jewish Community Day School of Watertown, MA and is also a member of the Day School Education Committee for the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of the Greater Boston area.
“Having the support of JELF was critical to me at the time when my family was new to the United States and had limited resources for my education. I greatly appreciate the level of care and commitment of the donors and people of JELF,” says Alex.
Maria received her B.A. in international studies and pursued her J.D. at Suffolk University Law School. She later completed her LL.M. in Taxation at Boston University. Maria is a member of the Association of Global Custodians where she serves as Vice Chair of the Tax Committee. Maria currently works at JP Morgan as the Executive Director of US Custody Tax Products. Previously she worked as a VP at Brown Brothers Harriman, where she worked as an international tax attorney specializing in investment funds.
Alex and Maria currently live in Brookline, MA, with their two daughters, Mia and Emanuela, and a miniature schnauzer, Uzi.
“JELF helped take away financial burdens while I attended the University of West Georgia pursuing my marketing degree. I was able to enjoy college life while interning with two non-profits which led to employment at graduation and then became building blocks for the consulting role I am now in.”
I grew up in Lawrenceville, GA and am the youngest of four siblings. I have always had a passion for pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. As a child, I was always active, pushing myself to become a cheerleader, basketball player, Girl Scout, a chorus member (even though I cannot sing to save my life), and other school and community groups. As an adult, I still continue to push myself and now have a passion for traveling, experiencing cultures, and being around people.
Of my siblings, I was the first to attend college and took on the financial responsibility, so that is something I am really proud of. I was a JELF recipient through my four years of undergrad. In 2011, during my junior year of college, I was also the recipient of an interest-free loan from JELF. JELF has been a huge contributor to my success in school and after. As many young college graduates learn, student loans are not exactly fun and having a high interest rate is even less fun.
Currently, I am involved in several different aspects in the Jewish community. I went on Birthright shortly after graduating college and then began playing with social sports at the JCC. I then began to get involved in the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and helped plan and coordinate a reverse mifgash and other events. I also co-chaired the Birthright Alumni involvement at the Federation, staff Birthright trips, and played sports at the JCC, in addition to attending different social events throughout the community.
Shortly after college, I began my career in marketing and consulting at the Scheduling Institute in Alpharetta, GA. Having received my degree in marketing and sales, I am fortunate to have found a company that lets me use my creative and strategic talents. My advice to any young professional, or really any professional, is to find a career that will help you develop both personally as well as professionally. It truly makes a huge difference. I am now enjoying getting involved with entrepreneur friends and helping them with social media, word of mouth, or other outlets.
In 2012 and again in 2017, I had the opportunity to share my story at large JELF events and I was so glad to be there so that I could represent the importance of JELF and the difference it can make. Having these interest-free loans for school made such a difference for me, and also truly affected the years after college and my ability to succeed. Thanks, JELF!
“I had the good fortune of being accepted by an excellent in-state school, but paying for it was another question. I was eligible for federal grants and government-backed loans, and I was even eligible for a work-study program. Despite maximizing all of these, I was still short of funds I needed to pay for college.
Without JELF’s support, I would not have been able to meet my financial obligations and likely would have not been able to earn my degree. JELF funding made it possible for me to go to college.”
Dr. Benjamin Warsaw is a classical pianist, composer, teacher, and accompanist, and has performed numerous solo and ensemble concerts throughout North America. Concert highlights include, Schwartz Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; Yamaha Hall and Haydn Birthplace, Vienna, Austria; O’Shaughnessy Theatre, Minneapolis, MN; JFK Birthplace, Boston, MA; and performed original compositions for President Carter during a live broadcast at the Carter Center.
Benjamin has studied and performed solo and chamber music and original compositions in summer festivals and masterclasses such as, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Wiener Masterclasses, Banff Center Piano Master Classes, Chautauqua Institution, Brandywine International Piano Festival, International Keyboard Festival at Mannes, Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival, and Blue Lake Fine Arts, where his original compositions were featured on NPR.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Benjamin holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Rebecca Penneys. He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance at Boston University under the tutelage of the late Anthony di Bonaventura. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, Music Teachers National Association, and the Savannah Music Teachers Association. Benjamin is Assistant Professor at Armstrong State University, Savannah, GA. There he teaches piano and theory and is Artistic Director of Piano in the Arts. In 2015 Benjamin released his debut album, Warsaw plays Warsaw, featuring a set of 24 Preludes of original music for piano.
“While doing my undergraduate work at Indiana University, I received a JELF loan. After college, I went on to obtain a Master’s degree and Educational Specialists degree in Counseling. In 2013, I received my PhD in Psychology. Currently, I am in a private psychotherapy practice with offices in Midtown Atlanta and Smyrna, Georgia. I work with adults on a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, relationship issues, and weight loss.
This is a picture of me and my daughter, Florie. Being a mom is my other job and also my favorite!”
I grew up in Miami, Florida and went through the public school education system since kindergarten. My parents always tried to find a way for me to stay connected to Judaism. Though I did not like it very much, I attended Hebrew School in preparation for my Bar Mitzvah. Then, upon starting 10th grade, my parents and friends convinced me to try Maccabi Tzair Miami, a youth movement that develops leadership among Jewish teens. From the first week, I fell in love with this program. I became more and more involved with Maccabi and still participate at an international level.
When I was applying for college, I did not know where I wanted to go, or what I wanted to study. I visited many schools but one stood out over all the others – Georgia Tech in Atlanta was a perfect fit. Georgia Tech specializes in Industrial Engineering and this is what I have decided to study. When my parents told me that they would need help paying for college, I was very grateful to learn about JELF, as the idea of graduating with too much debt really worries me. JELF has helped turn my dream of studying Industrial Engineering at Georgia Tech into reality!
“JELF’s last dollars loans helped me afford my education at Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia in the 1980s. In times of crazy tuition costs, these funds can allow a student to live in acceptable housing and not be forced to work 40 hours per week, on top of pursuing a full-time degree. I am so happy to give back so our next generation can obtain the most important thing in life – an education.”
“My father passed away when I was 14, and my mother had to raise three children. Someone connected me with Nat Shulman, of blessed memory, at the Charleston JCC and he got me involved with JELF. From there, my life was transformed – I am the only college graduate in my family.
I have owned two businesses and worked with several companies in marketing and advertising, including working as Sports Information Director at the Citadel from 1984-1994. I currently am a partner in a sports marketing firm in Charleston.”
“Thanks to JELF, I am attending the University of Central Florida (UCF) and taking my General Education classes toward my goal of attending medical school in the future. I am enjoying my studies as well as my sorority. Thanks, JELF, for helping me achieve these goals!”
“JELF made it possible for me to attend Wesleyan University where I founded a preschool program for low-income children, worked in the Cognitive Development Lab, volunteered at a local clinic, taught a student forum on education policy, became a leader in a feminist activist group and wrote a 150-page thesis. I graduated with high honors and accepted a position as Assistant Dean of Admission of Wesleyan.”
“My JELF loan is giving me the opportunity to study education. Knowing the Jewish community is supporting my education and helping me accomplish my dream of going to college is very comforting. Thank you for believing in me. It is a wonderful feeling that the Jewish community is behind me and is helping me accomplish my goal of becoming a future educator.”
When I was adopted in 6th grade, the Jewish community welcomed me with open arms. With the continued support of the Jewish community and the JELF loan, I was able to choose the perfect college for me and not worry about how to pay for school. This has helped me make a dream come true by attending college.”
“The JELF organization helped my family afford college for both me and my brother. JELF provided an invaluable service to us. Going to college was made more affordable, and the repayment of the loans was easy to manage once we graduated from school. JELF was introduced to us at a very important time in our lives, and it has contributed to our success.”
JELF has always been about community to me. The loans come from generous donors whose mitzvot are blessings to recipients and families, strengthening our unity as Jewish Americans. Even the JELF staff are household names to my family. My success is largely related to the stress-free, and of course interest-free, financial aid JELF offered.
“My life and my faith wouldn’t be the same without the JELF community. Thank you all.”
Isaac is currently an insurance agent in Greenville, SC.
“There was a low point in my life where I couldn’t feed myself. JELF provided me with the funds to be able to pay for basic life necessities. That’s why it’s so important to me as a donor to give back to JELF. Without JELF I don’t think I would have completed my undergraduate degree. I wouldn’t be sitting here.”